The New York Giants Davis Webb Showcase, er voluntary mini-camp, opens Tuesday. The three days of on-field work will be new head coach Pat Shurmur’s first chance to get his veteran players in a football setting. It will also be Webb’s only chance before the 2018 NFL Draft to show Shurmur and GM Dave Gettleman what he can do.
Let’s look at the key things to pay attention as we get our first taste of 2018 Giants football.
What can Davis Webb really accomplish?
Webb will split reps with Eli Manning during the mini-camp. He will have to, since they are the only quarterbacks currently on the roster. Jerry Reese’s 2017 third-round pick will have three days — really two since the third day of mini-camp is likely to be a quick, light practice — to try and convince the Giants’ new regime that they don’t need to draft a quarterback.
Can he? Probably not.
That isn’t a knock on Webb. It simply is the nature of a mini-camp. It’s a couple of days of work in shorts and t-shirts, with minimal — if any — defense played. Per the CBA, there is “no contact work (e.g., “live” blocking, tackling, pass rushing, bump-and-run) or use of pads (helmets permitted) at minicamps.”
Webb can show the Giants what the ball looks like coming out of his hand, his footwork, his command of information and a huddle. He can give them a peek at where he is in his development, but his performance this week is unlikely to have a major impact on what the Giants do in the draft.
“Nothing is going to totally change the top of the board,” Gettleman said during his pre-draft press conference last week. “Seeing Davis next week is going to be fun for us because he’s a great kid, he works his fanny off, he has been following Eli (Manning) around like a little puppy dog since he walked in the door and it will be a neat opportunity to see him play. Yeah, sure, everything affects the board. I’d be lying if I said no, but at the end of the day, I’m looking forward to it.”
What’s the deal with Ereck Flowers?
There was a big hullabaloo when it was learned that Flowers, the fourth-year tackle who is being shuffled to the right tackle spot to accommodate the arrival of Nate Solder, was the only player who did not show up for the first day of voluntary conditioning.
Has he been around since? Will he be in attendance at the mini-camp? Is he unhappy about not only switching positions, but being told he will have to compete for a starting job? What’s his deal, anyway?
Flowers doesn’t like to speak with media and probably won’t during the mini-camp. We will just have to see if he is in attendance.
Will Odell Beckham Jr. be around?
If Beckham is in attendance, I still wouldn’t expect to see him participating in any on-field activities. If he isn’t, then he isn’t. I’m sure it will be a story — it is Beckham. I’d like to see him there to aid his learning of the new offense, for team-building, and to help his relationship with Pat Shurmur and Dave Gettleman as he looks for a rich long-term contract. Let’s not, however, get all bent out of shape if he isn’t.
What does a Pat Shurmur practice look like?
There were obvious changes in practice structure from Tom Coughlin to Ben McAdoo. There will be changes from McAdoo to Shurmur. What will they be? What will the tempo of practice look like? What will Shurmur’s practice demeanor be? We won’t get all of the answers to that during this mini-camp, but we will at least get a glimpse.
Olivier Vernon at linebacker
When the Giants align in a 3-4 defensive front, Olivier Vernon will be utilized as an outside linebacker. How does Vernon look in linebacker drills? How does he feel about the transition defensive coordinator James Bettcher is asking him to make? Provided he is in attendance, we get to see him perform in those drills and talk to him about his new role for the first time.